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Exploring Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town

May 3, 2018

Lifestyle | by Baldwin Ho

For those unfamiliar with Cape Town, you might be wondering where are all the famous beaches? The Bondi Beach equivalent you might ask? Well, Camps Bay Beach would be high on any visitor’s list for those seeking pristine, fine white sand and ultra-fresh seafood restaurants on the promenade with the spectacular Twelve Apostles mountain range in the background.

There are many luxury apartments and hotels nestled on the hills of Camps Bay; one of the best is the ultra-slick and stylishly designed POD boutique hotel. Their location couldn’t be any more convenient being metres away from the beach and the many wonderful restaurants in the area. The hotel only has 17 rooms and their radical hip design is perfect for the fashion-conscious looking for a beach holiday with elegance and sophistication.

The luxury room we stayed in included a private sea view balcony (some have their own plunge pool), a luxurious king-sized bed, air conditioning and underfloor heating as well as 40″ LED TV, DVD player, Bluetooth speaker, Nespresso and tea station and what appears to be standard practise in South Africa: complimentary mini-bar and treats. The only minor gripe would be the open plan bedroom and bathroom; great if you are travelling with a partner, not so ideal if travelling with friends. Although, the walk-in rain shower is particularly impressive, especially if you upgrade to the deluxe suite where they provide a decadent dual walk-in rain shower.

Given the size of the hotel, the breakfast offering is particularly commendable offering a wide selection of meat, fish, cheese, fruit platters, cereals and bread along with hot made-to-order selections like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Try getting a seat by their 55-foot infinity pool that appears to extend into the beach or alternatively grab a cocktail from their bar and admire the stunning sunset in the evenings.

There are numerous other venues nearby where you can absorb the breathtaking scenery; The Kove Collection seems to have secured all the best locations judging by the restaurants we visited. You can’t get any closer to the Atlantic Ocean than at The Bungalow, which is situated in the Glen Country Club. The coveted outdoor terrace seats are where you want to be with a smart palette of navy coloured sofas and crisp white tablecloths. The style of cooking is unfussy and is based on sourcing fresh, premium quality ingredients. With an extensive selection of sushi dishes, that might be the ideal option as a starter. However it was the main course section that really shone. The seared tuna I ordered was almost the size of a tomahawk steak and struck the right balance between the raw interior and the beautifully seared exterior. My vegetarian guest was equally impressed with their house greens salad which was bursting with colours and nutrients with mixed leaves, avocados, tomatoes, seeds, boiled egg, and carrots.

Their sister restaurant, Bilbao is centrally located on the “strip” in Camps Bay and a place where the affluent gather to see and be seen with prime real estate views looking onto the most popular part of the beach. The menu once again has a very strong seafood focus but dishes tended to have a Middle Eastern twist, so my guest had an asparagus hummus with feta, cumin, and tahini whilst  I had local oysters flavoured with a light splash of lemon and pomegranate. Their house greens salad was less enticing than The Bungalow’s version with no tomatoes, seeds or the special house dressing but my sole had wonderful citrusy notes being flavoured with zataar, lemon, capers and fresh herbs.

However, if you are missing a taste of London, head into town for La Tête, where chef patron Giles Edwards has brought the Nose-to-Tail philosophy of Fergus Henderson from St John restaurant back to Cape Town. Giles not only worked at St John but also well-known restaurants such as 1 Lombard Street and J Sheekey back in London.

The menu isn’t for the squeamish, as I started with crispy pig tails and aioli. There was a surprisingly large amount of meat available although there is a substantial gelatinous layer underneath due to the higher amount of cartilage and it did come across quite fatty. Grilled ox heart, on the other hand, was a great recommendation from the team: thinly sliced, it had very little of the offaly taste and resembled more prime cuts of sirloin. Vegetarians are well-catered for with dishes like broccoli vinaigrette and aubergine, crème fraîche and parsley salad.

To finish your Cape Town adventure, a cable car ride up to Table Mountain is a must. Even for someone who suffers from acrophobia and with the cable car exposed to the elements and revolving, it was a deeply life-affirming experience to see the majesty of nature when you reach the top. The rock formations are staggeringly beautiful as well as the unobstructed views of Cape Town into the distance and the power of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Town is widely regarded as one of God’s greatest masterpieces and when you visit wonderful places like Camps Bay and Table Mountain, it isn’t difficult to see why.

For more information on Pod here, Kove Collection here and La Tete  here.

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